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Looking for a program, which can

  • easially import a CAD-model
  • apply textures quickly
  • render it in decent quality
  • animate single objects & cameras

Been doing some bigger projects with the student version of Cinema 4D, which was great besides the export/import of the NX-models.

As the upcoming project is gonna be for commercial use, I'm curious if there are even better options for lower prices available. Would also be interested in how hard it'd be to switch to those programs.
So far I'm considering Blender, where I'm debating whether it's more economical to invest into the hours in learning it.

Do you have any other recommendations which I should consider? Has anyone switched from C4D to Blender?

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Blender will work, though you might find the workflow both a bit... quirky and slightly sub-optimal.

FWIW I use Luxology | foundry's modo for the sort of tasks you're describing, and find it fast, effective and powerful, though honestly I'm mostly an architectural renderer, I've done some product viz work too, and as an arch viz renderer, I most often start by importing 3D CAD data for the initial model, unless the architect or designer only has flatCAD files, in which case I bring in their flatCAD drawings and extrude and trim and so on.

A couple quick product-type renders of mine:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

Here's a link to a subsection of my Behance portfolio which is specific to rigging and animating in modo, which should give you a very fast sense of workflow ease-of-use.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/53925291/Modeling-texturing-rigging-animation-and-renderwork

So for me, I find that modo has a very effective direct modeling workflow, a powerful procedural modeling pipeline, a very solid full animation toolset, dynamics, rigging and constraints, and a range of fast and powerful rendering tools built-in, plus access to all the most commonly-used third-party rendering plug-ins out there.

Anway, here's a link to the product page.

https://www.foundry.com/products/modo

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